Yamaha Booster Ride Report: S-Pedelec with a difference


Last year, for the first time, slightly more Pedelecs were sold in Germany than bicycles without an auxiliary motor. But among the approximately four million new purchases there is also a group that is not significant: S-Pedelecs. They constitute at most one percent of the total market, according to the two-wheeler industry association. E-bikes like the Yamaha Booster don’t have an easy time finding buyers. But the fast bike still gets attention.

Who said an e-bike has to look like a bike? The design of Yamaha’s Booster is based more on a moped – and it is a Pedelec in a way after all. The model in question for the base shape is former subsidiary MBK’s own Booster 50cc scooter from the 1990s. Fat tires are nothing unusual on e-bikes, but they’re in pedelec gear. In this case they measure 20 by 4 inches and have a slight reference to the aforementioned scooter with its fat tires. What catches the eye of the Booster is of course the airy aluminum U main frame, which is made with struts. In addition, instead of a classic luggage rack, there is a kind of carrying plate (for which Yamaha offers suitable luggage accessories). The removable battery with carrying strap is located in the seat tube. You can’t go wrong when it comes to expectations for an S-Pedelec: unlike a normal hybrid bike, which is usually quite easy to drive in the upper rev range, the faster version travels to top speed much less often – after all, it’s ultimately it’s the muscles that decide, not the bike Aided ride through rhythm. The reserve is what makes the difference. While the motor on a normal e-bike usually stops at 25 km/h, with an S-Pedelec it doesn’t stop at 30 or 35 km/h. With the Yamaha Booster we achieved constant speeds in the range between 28 and 32 km/h without much effort. The internal PW S2 is used as a pedal assist, which is activated immediately after a step on the pedal is detected. The four support levels are combined with a stepless gear from Envilo. This takes some getting used to as the current gear ratio cannot be read anywhere. On the other hand, there are no noticeable gear changes and, importantly, the gearbox can also be operated at a standstill, which means that if you stop in a high gear, you can easily start again in a lower one. However, the shifter, which is designed like a throttle grip, covers a long enough distance that when the terrain suddenly becomes more demanding, you’ll need to switch hands. The engine, which weighs less than three kilograms, is familiar from the Yamaha Moro 07 e-MTB, for example, and delivers a decent torque of 75 Nm. The battery has a capacity of 630 watt hours. With the battery 90 percent full, the on-board computer showed a range of 110 kilometers in “Eco” mode (there is also “+Eco”), in “Standard” it was a little more than half, and in the last level “High” 38 kilometers remained. The 2.8-inch Bluetooth-enabled TFT screen can be individually mapped to up to six pieces of information at once and welcomes people with an encouraging “Let’s go” before we set off and a friendly “See you soon” when they leave. The covered front fork is adjustable and, in combination with the wide tires, ensures high suspension comfort. For example, it’s fun to run around the roundabout with the booster, but you can’t keep up with the agility of an e-bike with narrower tires. However, the two-wheeler is more versatile than it seems. The fat tires also shouldn’t hide the fact that this isn’t an off-road bike. However, they can of course do no harm on the potholed streets of today’s cities. Despite their speed, S-Pedelecs have several drawbacks. To drive them, you need an AM driving license (from 15 years old) and, like electronic scooters, they must be insured. Moreover, at least in Germany, the vast majority of cycle paths are taboo for them. In terms of price, however, it is at the same level as a normal e-bike. According to experts, their speed advantage over a conventional Pedelec pays off for those who regularly travel more than five kilometers. By the way, the Yamaha Booster, which costs 3,699 euros and has the additional name “Easy”, is also available for 400 euros less than a normal Pedelec with electric support up to 25 km/h. (sen)





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